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My neighborhood, I'll miss it so
The Boston Globe
By Nathan Welton
Nathan Welton photos
December 8, 2002

My walls soar 15 feet to the ceiling, and each one radiates a different color. One glows forest green, one blazes orange, and a third seduces with a deep sexy red. Another wall - sandblasted blue and white - looks like the sky on a cloudy day; a fifth one is so bulbous, round and reassuring, that it makes the room's occupants feel like they're in a womb. These walls make great backdrops for photographers.

The bathroom is hot pink, green, and black, complete with a 5-foot-tall pastel cow painted on one wall and a jumbo bar code on another. Several intricate stained-glass windows adorn the unit, along with a collection of giant doors covering abandoned elevator shafts that plunge to the ground. The doors, plated with steel, have been sanded clean and shiny.

It almost seems that my loft itself has become the canvas of the artists who have passed through during the last decade.

But the place wasn't always like this.

Nearly a decade ago, someone rented a commercial sandblaster and hauled five tons of sand up there to make the decrepit space usable. With a hose dangling down to a street-side machine, he removed a century of paint from the walls. He tore up carpets and sanded down the wooden floors beneath, swapping sandpaper squares every few square feet. Then he patched the leaky roof and buffed the elevator doors.

Now, I enjoy (temporarily) a space that is a far cry from the many abandoned places in the neighborhood, whose insides feel like prisons. Pathetic light filters through their broken and boarded-up windows, and dead pigeons litter their chapped floors. Graffiti is the only art on their walls, and it's ugly.

Unfortunately, the Fort Point studios won't last long; they're slated to be gutted, sanitized, and rebuilt by winter's end. The artists will get the boot and will have to find a new place in which to create. My friends and I will be gone, too.

One local told me that it seems that once every artist colony becomes funkified and gains a little character, it also becomes gentrified and shortly thereafter becomes yuppified. At that point, the artists move to a new city, their spaces get made over, and the cycle continues.

There's a notice on a pole down on the street informing passersby that the Fort Point cat ''Creepy'' has recently passed away. The black cat's only home was in the Big Dig, where he now rests in peace. The sign invites locals to paint the feline somewhere on A Street in remembrance.

In a weird way, Creepy represents the entire neighborhood.